Emmeline Goulden in ManchesterEngland to abolitionist parents,
she was married (1879) to Dr. Richard Marsden Pankhurst (a
lawyer, comitted socialist, who was already a supporter of
the women's suffrage movement, and had been the author of
the Married Women's Property Acts of 1870 and 1882).
Emmeline Pankhurst is probably the most famous
figure in the women’s suffragist movement.
In 1889, Mrs Pankhurst co-founded
the "Women's Franchise League",
but her campaign was interrupted by her husband's death in
1898. In 1894 the league won the right for
married women to vote in elections for local offices.
Disappointed about the slow progression in
women’s suffrage, she – together with her daughters
Christabel and Sylvia - 1903 founded her
own movement, the "Women’s Social and Political
Union" (WSPU) in Manchester, an organisation
most famous for its militancy.
The members of her movement were frequently
arrested, using spectacular militant means to further their
Emmeline Pankhurst herself was imprisoned
several times. In 1912 she went on a hunger strike and was
soon released from jail. 1913 she was again arrested and released
once more after a hunger strike. This procedure repeated itself
12 times in the following 12 months according to the newly
passed “Cat and Mouse Act” (Prisoners,
Temporary Discharge for Health Act) 1913.
At the beginning of World War I, 1914,
the government released all suffragist prisoners and Emmeline
Pankhurst called off the suffrage campaign to support the
war effort. During the war Mrs. Pankhurst continued her campaign
in Canada, the U.S.A. and Russia.
She returned to England in 1926.
Two years later she was chosen as a Conservative candidate
for an East London seat but died before the election to Parliament
At least she lived to see the release of
the “Representation of the People Act”, establishing
voting equality for men and women in 1928.
A statue in her memory stands at Westminster.
The home of the Pankhurst family in Manchester has now turned
into a museum, the Pankhurst Centre.
- My Own Story (1914) autobiography by Emmeline Pankhurst
- E.S. Pankhurst (1936) biography by Sylvia Pankhurst